As I mentioned in the introductory blog post there were some aspects of Europeana 1914-1918 that we felt needed to improved in order to make for a better user experience for our users.
Improving the consistency and quality of the content
Below are some of the actions we took to accomplish this goal. The data entry forms are implemented in a fluid grid to support our responsive design BTW.
- We updated the underlying data model to make a cleaner separation between Stories and Memorabilia
- We wanted to also treat both the person sharing the story and the persons the story is about into entities of their own. However, due to constraints we were unable to do so.
- We updated the data entry forms, trying to strike a balance between simplicity and power. I’m not sure we made it completely on this one.
- Specific improvements were made on batch uploading, copying metadata from story to memorabilia items and from memorabilia items to items
- Simple help texts were integrated into the forms themselves rather than kept on separate help pages
- We added some extra, optional, metadata fields to make more precise descriptions and classifications of stories and memorabilia possible
- Specifically we added an option to make one image “the cover” of a story. The intention and hope is that contributors will apply this to portraits of the story protagonists.
- Contributors too, are now allowed to upload an image/avatar to represent themselves
- We’ve made it possible for contributors to revise and withdraw contributions after they have been submitted, reviewed and published. This was to make clear that the persons who share these stories “own” them, NOT Europeana.
- When analyzing and modelling the content we kept in mind that what we did here would shape the way we could present and make findable the stories and memorabilia contributed
Improving the editorial support and localization
- We needed to make it possible to localize the UI into any number of languages. A project goal over the next year is to hold Collection Days in all European countries touched by the First World War after all.
- We wanted to make it possible for our Marketing&Communications team to write news entries and choose stories to feature and for these to immediately show up in the UI
- The legacy system lacked any true CMS-features at all and we couldn’t fit developing one into the scope of the project.
- So we improvised by setting up a hidden blog which acts as a CMS and allows our site editors to feature content, which categories to feature as browseable, write news entries, and Editor’s Picks. And to do so in all languages we localize to.
In the next blog post: Designing and implementing the user experience.